Audi RS4 Review: Buying Used

By: Joe Kenwright

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Audi RS4 Audi RS4 Audi RS4
Audi RS4 Audi RS4 Audi RS4

Audi's RS4 offered ballistic performance in a quattro sedan, wagon or cabriolet

Audi RS4 Review: Buying Used
Buying used: Audi RS4


Audi RS4


Audi’s A4 hot rod entered another dimension after the previous wild turbo V6 RS4 was replaced in May 2006 by a worked, direct-injection 4.2-litre V8 that delivered 309kW and 430Nm, most of which arrived from 2250rpm and continued all the way to 7600rpm. Although its linear atmo delivery was not quite as explosive as the previous engine, a 8250rpm limit and mandatory six-speed manual invited driver involvement, which the RS4’s Torsen diff-equipped all-wheel drive chassis rewarded in all weathers. Zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds performance was matched by amazing grip and when you jumped on the 365/324mm Lamborghini brakes it was like hitting a concrete wall. Under-floor brake cooling ducts kept it composed on the track, but the brittle low-speed ride on broken Aussie road surfaces will annoy some.

At $165,400 new, its A4 origins could also be a negative but a special diamond pattern grille, extra air scoops, big-bore dual exhaust, wider front and rear tracks with pumped-up wheel arches, huge wheels and lower ride height shout premium high performance package. Augmented by a Wagon then a Cabriolet in 2007, annual sales were double the previous RS4 before it was withdrawn late in 2008.


A better choice than usual for a specialist Audi generates a starting price just under $70,000 for a sedan, under $90,000 for a Cab and under $80,000 for a wagon. Final examples pull up just under $100,000.


¦ Small engine bay/large engine dictates partial dismantling of front section to access engine. Oil or coolant leaks or any unusual noise shouldn’t be ignored; it will usually mean an engine-out repair.

¦ All VW-Audi direct-injection engines suffer carbon build-up on inlet valves as a result of the fuel bypassing them. The carbon not only damages the head but can fall into the cylinder and destroy the
engine. This must be watched and corrective action taken as needed.

¦ Top-shelf suspension has expensive alloy components with integrated bushes that have to be routinely replaced as units. Adjustable suspension dictates regular four-wheel alignments or scalloped tyre tread will generate a rumble similar to a bearing failure.

¦ Lower body additions more likely to suffer impact damage than scraping with lower ride height. Check all underbody panels are firmly in place.

¦ RS4’s power works the eight CV joints front and rear really hard, so their boots need to be checked regularly. Clunks or clicks under power or turning indicate an immediate repair. Torsen centre
diff is usually trouble-free but shuddering under cornering will require an expensive fluid change.

¦ Massive brake rotors not cheap and can require replacement every third service or 50-60,000km. Audi’s on-board service monitoring system is deadly accurate. Ignore its alerts or step outside the special oil, coolant and fluid requirements at your peril. Check carefully for unusual valve gear and timing chain noise.

Thanks to Audi European Autohaus (03) 9429 2111.



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